Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 37

Melissa McDaniel | 37

we could match in Google Translate.

We buy him Dora the Explorer diapers when we discover that the creature has no interest in being house-­trained. It’s amazing how expensive diapers can be. Before we were married, we used to talk about having a kid. By the time the creature arrived, we treated that conversation like the ghost story it was.

You stay out late, and I wake up early. This makes conversation easier. We cover the basics. Now, when I speak to you, I stare at the creature. I try to decide if the creature’s eyes are purple or grey.

What happens next? I ask the creature. I stroke the fur on the top of his head, yanking my hand back before he can bite me with his two little sharp teeth. Despite his flaws, the creature has his talents, too. He listens. When I’m sad, the creature nudges his face into my palm, and whatever was bothering me disappears, as if the memory was just wiped clean.

When you are at work I start throwing everything away. Our old pictures. Your books. Anything with significance. One day, while I’m cleaning, the creature finds a binder of CDs collecting dust in my closet. He emerges with my Bright Eyes CD in his teeth. He maintains eye contact while he chews, shards of plastic spilling onto the floor. When he’s done with that, he moves on to The Mountain Goats. Spoon. Nirvana. The B­52s. The creature doesn’t care how much we paid. He knows no one buys CDs anymore.

Later that day, we receive a phone call, a scratched voice. Your great uncle George has passed away.

I stand in the bathroom and think about how to tell you. I want this to make a difference somehow. I’ve always believed that love means everything, that it’s something we only recognize in times of crisis. But when I tell you the news, you don’t cry. You do not